1News can reveal that New Zealand Police spent over $2.5 million in response to the protest in Parliament.
Earlier this year, Parliament was occupied by anti-mandate protesters for nearly a month.
The occupation ended in a violent confrontation between police and protesters, resulting in hundreds of arrests, parts of the Parliament grounds set on fire and cobblestones ripped from the sidewalk.
Information released under the Official Information Act shows police spent over $1 million on accommodation, over $600,000 on travel and just under $300,000 on food.
Just under $200,000 was spent on rented or purchased equipment, and over $50,000 on external vendors.
“These costs cover expenses incurred directly in response to the protest such as accommodation, food, towing consumables, airfare and vehicles, venues and helicopter rental costs. do not include the personnel costs of the personnel assigned to this operation,” a police officer said. said the spokesperson.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority is currently carrying out an independent investigation and review of the police response to the events, which is expected to be completed by March 2023.
The police received 598 complaints about the protest against Parliament.
“Of the 598 complaints, 148 were about police inaction, generally wanting the police to do more, generally wanting the police to do more to remove protesters from the grounds of Parliament.” said a police spokesman.
Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers previously said 600 officers were involved on March 2 – the last day of the occupation. Stuff reports that just over 1,800 police were dispatched to Wellington during the protests.
In a statement, Police Minister Poto Williams said it is “the responsibility of the police to monitor illegal activity”.
“It was the biggest and longest protest ever on the grounds of Parliament, and the police wouldn’t have spent the money if the protesters had stayed home.”